A Winnipeg family is still recovering from broken legs, heels and a fractured back after after leaping two storeys from an apartment suite to escape a fire on New Years Day.
"I'm trying not to think about it. It's very painful. It's very painful. The first few days were horrible," Alena Giertmane said.

The fire broke out in the suite on Jan. 1 in the early afternoon. 

The family was on Skype with relatives in Belarus when they heard cracking noises, then the Christmas tree burst into flames and the only way out of the apartment was through the window, Giertmane said. 

The couple jumped from the second floor to the ground below — more than three metres — fire officials said.


Seven-month-old Agnese Giertmane was uninjured after her mother threw her two storeys from their burning apartment into her father's arms below. He caught her despite having a broken leg from jumping himself earlier. (Family)

"My husband opened the window and jumped from it. He was first because he was supposed to catch the baby," she said, referring to the couple's seven-month-old daughter Agnese. "So he jumped, broke his leg, [stood] up, and I threw the baby to him, and he [caught] her." 

Agnese landed safely in his arms without injury, and Giertmane jumped next, breaking both of her heels and fracturing her back.

She and her husband have been in the Health Sciences Centre for nearly two weeks, and the pair are still unable to walk.

Damage to the Colony Street apartment is estimated at $100,000, according to fire officials.

The family, who moved to Winnipeg from Belarus in 2010, did not have tenant insurance. Giertmane said she and her husband weren't aware they needed it.

"We don't really know what's going to happen — where we're going to after we're released from hospital," she said.

Donations can be made to the family at any Carpathia Credit Union.